Hunter Valley residents are being warned to brace for a heat wave that is expected to hit the region this week.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting temperatures of up to 43 degrees in parts of the Hunter over the weekend.
It has prompted Hunter-New England Health to issue a warning to residents to be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and take precautions to avoid being affected.
John James from the Bureau's Williamtown office says people will start to notice the hot change from tomorrow.
"Certainly mid-thirties to high thirties through until at least Friday," he said.
"Friday to Saturday into the low forties and then Sunday still quite hot, probably just below the 40 degree mark until it really cools down."
But residents are being assured that the heat wave does not mean the region is in for a sweltering summer.
Mr James says the long term outlook for the season does not look too concerning.
"At the moment the indications are that the temperatures are probably not going to be all that high over the summer period," he said.
"Summer really doesn't start until over the weekend and at this stage it's not looking as if we're going to have a continuously very hot summer."
© ABC 2012
16:53 EDT Despite three failed wet seasons, communities in western Queensland are pulling together to support each other through tough times.